In November 2008, voters in California approved Prop. 8, which banned gay marriage. Now a Federal District Court in San Francisco will hear arguments over whether the U.S. Constitution forbids states like California from restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples. The plaintiffs, two couples, a gay rights group, and the City of San Francisco sued the Governor and Attorney General of California. Neither Arnold Schwarzenegger nor Jerry Brown are defending the case, but a coalition of religious and conservative groups have stepped in to defend the ballot measure. The plaintiffs will be represented by Theodore Olsen and David Boies, famous rival attorneys in Bush v. Gore. The defendants, meanwhile, have retained Reagan-era Justice Department lawyer Charles Cooper. If the plaintiffs prevail all the way to the Supreme Court, gay marriage bans in some 30 states will be overturned.
Jenny Pizer, Senior Counsel, Lambda Legal
Austin R. Nimocks, Alliance Defense Fund, part of the Protectmarriage.com legal team.